The initial setting up for this technique will be the time consumer, after that it is simply copying, then rotating and moving. Don’t think you have to be stuck with the polaroid effect either, make a square, rectangle, circle etc., As with any of my tutorials, the numbers used are relevant to this image only 800 X 533 @72dpi – adjust as necessary for an image larger, or smaller. You can go ahead and grab the image below to practise on if you like, the copyright is mine yada, yada.

Open the image in Photoshop and duplicate the b/ground layer by dragging it to the new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette, or pressing Ctrl + J on the keyboard. Next, you need to sandwich a new layer between the b/ground and the newly duplicated layer. If you have the topmost layer active, hold down the Ctrl key and then click on the create new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette – holding down the Ctrl key will force the new layer to be created below the topmost layer. If you currently have the b/ground layer active, you can simply click on the new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette and it will create the new blank layer above the b/ground. You can go ahead and fill the new blank layer with black. You should end up with something similar to the image below.

Make sure that the black layer is active, then press on the create new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette to make the new layer go above the black filled layer. Bear with me here, I know it seems like an exercise in creating layers 🙂 Click on the blank layer to make it active, then go and grab the rectangular marquee tool and draw out a polaroid/rectangle shape.

When you’ve done that, filled the shape with black.

Now you need to create a clipping mask so that the topmost layer is clipped with the small black rectangle you just created. Hold down the Alt key on the keyboard and place your cursor on the line that seperates the topmost layer and the black rectangle layer, when the funny shape appears click to create the clipping mask. Or you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + G make sure that the topmost layer is active if you use the keyboard shortcut.

It will come as no surprise to you that we now have to add another new blank layer 🙂 We need to sandwich it between the filled black layer and the little rectangle layer, so click on the filled black layer to make it active and press the create new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette. You will now have a layers palette similar to the one below.

Grab the rectangular marquee tool again and on the new blank layer you just created, draw a border around the piece of the image you can see. If you’ve done a polaroid type image remember that the bottom will have a little extra space. Once you’re done, fill the selection with white.

Just before we get through with the white border layer, lets go and give it a drop shadow. You might want to hide the solidly filled black layer at this point so you can see what is going on with the drop shadow. Click on the FX icon at the bottom of the layers palette and pick Drop Shadow, you can go ahead and do whatever you choose, or if you’re following along with my image just punched in the same numbers as I have.

You can turn back on the solidly filled black layer now. Preparation is now complete … Yes! so Lets rotate our little creation. Select the white layer by clicking on it, then hold down the shift key and select the layer with the little black rectangle on it. Bring up the Transform Tool using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + T hover the cursor just outside the bounding box till you cursor changes (see image below) and rotate it a little bit if you like. You can also move the entire thing by placing your cursor inside the image and dragging it where you want. When you are happy with it press enter on the keyboard to accept the change.

Now, your are going to group the 3 layers that make up the polaroid image (or whatever shape you chose to do) Click on the topmost layer (this will be the clipped layer), then shift click on the small black rectangle layer and the white border layer – the 3 layers should now be highlighted blue.

With the 3 layers highlighted press Ctrl + G to group the layers, or you can use the little fly out menu on the layers palette and click new group from layers, or you can go to the top menu bar and under the layer tab click on Group Layers. With that done, go ahead and duplicate the group by dragging it to the new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Open the second group by clicking on the triangle on the thumbnail, select the 2 layers you did before by clicking on the white border layer and then shift clicking on the small black rectangle – select the move tool from the side toolbar and move this to wherever you want it. Bring up the Transform tool again if you want to rotate it (Ctrl + T). Repeat the above steps until you have all the polaroid things in place. Don’t feel that you only have to be stuck with one shape here. If you fancy going through the steps for different shapes then do so. I haven’t completely finished the image in the example below, but you’ll get the idea of how it is used. Have fun with it.